Aside from it’s downright lovable titular killer cuddlies, the original Critters is a very, very forgettable movie. Go on, try to remember any of the plot points beyond the bounty hunters trying to catch the little furballs. I can’t and I only watched it three days ago.
Director Jordan Downey is clearly a far bigger fan of the Critters series than I am, but he’s also aware that the ‘suburban family attacked by small cute/horrific monsters’ angle has been done far more satisfactorily by another more famous franchise. Zeroing in on the Bounty Hunter class of the original film stalking the Critters through a regular neighbourghood, Critters: Bounty Hunter is essentially a special effects demo, and what a difference 28 years makes. The now decidedly dated appearance of the Bounty Hunter has been rendered much more impressively than the original. His un-shape-changed head, a glowing, swirling mass of blue energy, is a very well realised update that looks modern yet is respectful of the original design.
The costume of the Bounty Hunter is very accurate to the original too, along with his telescopic gun which has a neat little reference to Predator technology thrown in (Critters Vs. Predator? Now I’m interested in the franchise!). The tone is also consistent with the original film, notably including the funny vulgar subtitles of the Critters (a highlight of the original) while also showcasing the requisite squishiness.
It’s probably a better made film than its originator, which stands Downey’s use of it as a pitch for a job on the reboot TV show in good stead. Hopefully his absolute fidelity to the original at the sacrifice of putting a different spin on the property won’t be both his success and his failing.
Follow @RJBayley on Twitter